Are after-school cafes as highly valued as evening cafes?

Showcase Forums Teen Science Cafe Workshop Discussion 2015 Are after-school cafes as highly valued as evening cafes?

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    Sean Herberts

    We are looking at initiating cafes at our middle and high schools (potentially separately) in Riverton, IL. While informally surveying a few groups of students about the cafe setup, I received mixed feedback as to when and where the cafes would be held. Some students wanted the cafe to take place in the evening outside of school, while others expressed concerns about transportation and timing. Our schools have an “after school” time (from 2:40-3:30) after which bussing is provided. Because the area we are serving is largely disadvantaged, many of the students rely on these busses to get them to and from events. The town is small and public transportation is not available. This area is sort of “suburban,” but have “urban meets rural” circumstances – no agriculture and not much usable land, but relatively self-contained and public resources are limited.

    Does anyone else face similar circumstances? And has anyone tried an after-school cafe? If so, do you find that keeping it at the school and close to school time changes the mood of the cafe from being more relaxed and informal? How do you make your “at school” cafe feel informal? Do you feel that kids have enough time to decompress from school before the event? Or do you think that they even need this break time?

    Michelle Hall

    The brand new Sciencia:Blue Hill Teen Science Cafe has chosen 6-8pm as the optimal time to allow for all the after- school sports and other activities on their calendars. The only day the YLT members can all get together is on Sundays.
    One of our timing issues has to do with being in rural Maine where it takes some time to get anywhere – especially in the winter. We are also focused on making the cafes an off-campus, non-school event.I will write again when we find out whether this works and whether teens will actually go home and then return to town for an evening cafe when the thermometer registers minus 5 degrees!

    Lawrence Norris

    We have similar considerations in Arlington VA as Riverton IL. Implementing via the schools has been the choice for us for pedagogical and logistical reasons. For almost every student that had an opinion on the subject, the idea of having a cafe event in the evening was a non-starter. Not only were there transportation issues, but especially our “disadvantaged” students had sibling care and jobs that were a big part of the total household income.

    I have realized recently that immediately after school is like happy hour is for adults; except instead of alcoholic drinks they’re into sugary snacks, and even that became a big scientific discussion last month. Our HS buildings are relatively new and there is convertible “hanging out” space for the students to just sit around and talk. This is where I’m getting a lot of my cultural intel :)

    Wrt to the issue of competing with sports teams and such, we have taken the approach of having TSC events early, right after the final bell, under the premise that the first competitor for the students’ time wins.

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